Valerien Ismael has praised the intelligence of his West Bromwich Albion players as they continue to adapt to the Frenchman’s philosophy.
Ismael is putting his new group of players through their paces as they prepare for the new season, where they will hope to push for an immediate return to the Premier League.
The Frenchman exceeded expectations at Barnsley last season, guiding the Tykes to a play-off semi-final after taking over from Gerhard Struber.
Ismael’s high-intensity, counter-pressing philosophy caught the eye last season, making Barnsley a really enjoyable and entertaining team to watch.
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The Tykes thrived in Ismael’s system, too, scoring 58 goals in 46 Championship matches and conceding only 50 times.
Ismael will now be looking to replicate that at the Hawthorns and go one further in his quest to becoming a manager in the Premier League.
Speaking to the Express and Star, Ismael admitted that he was impressed by his new group of players’ attitudes as they continue to adapt and learn his philosophy.
He said: “For sure it is something different for the players. It’s another way to play and train.
“But the first day here gave me a great feeling – that we are able to speed up the process with the guys.
“They are all very intelligent, they reflect very quickly. You explain things one time and then you see it on the pitch.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Ismael sticks with the 3-4-3 system which suited him so well at Oakwell last season.
He’s brought in Alex Mowatt who was such a key cog for them in midfield last season, and you expect him to build his team around the midfielder next season.
They do have plenty of good players going forward, and a front line of Karlan Grant, Callum Robinson and another striker does have potential to be quite exciting and lead the Baggies to good things next season.